Peter Decherney is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher. He is Professor and Director of Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar. He has directed documentary and virtual reality films in Asia, Africa, and the U.S. Most recently he directed the award-winning virtual reality documentary series THE HEART OF PUERTO RICO about artists after Hurricane Maria. He is the author or editor of six books including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, and Inside Higher Ed among other places. His open online course on the history of Hollywood has enrolled more than 50,000 learners.
Sosena Solomon is an award winning social documentary film and multimedia visual artist from Ethiopia. Intuitively selecting subjects and stories, she is particularly interested in spaces of transition and change, acting as a cultural preservationist. Her work, whether presented as a film or an immersive 3-dimensional experience, explores cross sections of various subcultures and communities in flux, carefully teasing out cultural nuances and capturing personal narratives via arresting visual storytelling and cinéma vérité stylings. Sosena has worked for many years in the commercial and nonprofit sectors and has worked as a Director and Cinematographer on many short film projects including “Sole”, a documentary on sneaker culture that premiered on PBS affiliate MINDTV, and “MERKATO,” filmed on location in one of Africa’s largest open-air markets and exhibited internationally as an audio, visual, and sensory installation. Sosena earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Social Documentary Film from The School of Visual Arts in New York, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Television Production from Temple University. She is a recipient of The Leeway Foundation Art and Change grant (2013) and the Transformation Award (2014).
Jamie Unruh is an award-winning documentary and commercial editor. With over a decade of experience in the post-production industry, Jamie brings passion and creativity to every project she edits. From scripted spots to verité documentary, she is committed to finding compelling stories and crafting them into seamless and entertaining edits. Her portfolio includes work for PBS, Bravo, and A&E, as well as commercial clients including Stella Artois, Budweiser, Hilton Hotels, Puma, Chase and more.
Ara Dinkjian is an Armenian born in America in 1958. His earliest professional musical experience was accompanying his father Onnik Dinkjian, a renowned Armenian folk and liturgical singer. Ara learned several Western and Eastern instruments (piano, guitar, dumbeg, clarinet) and in 1980 graduated from the Hartt College of Music, earning the country’s first and only special degree in the instrument for which he has become most well-known, the oud.
Rich Ross is a television and film industry leader whose career includes roles as Group President of Discovery Channel and Science Channel, Chief Executive Officer of Shine America, President of Entertainment at Disney Channel, and Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.